ISP UKOnline and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have launched a simple guide to help small businesses better understand and benefit from the Internet, amid fears that many are falling behind their European counterparts:
According to recent figures from Eurostat, 86% of small businesses in France have broadband connections, 87% in Spain and 89% in Finland and Sweden. In the UK however, only 77% of small businesses are connected to broadband, despite predictions from Forrester Research that 32 million UK consumers will be shopping online by 2011, spending almost £53bn and making the UK the most lucrative ‘e-commerce’ market in Europe.
“Being online nowadays is fundamental as the Internet has placed almost unlimited information and choice in the hands of the consumer,” said Chris Stening, managing director of UK Online. “Not having a website, even a basic site which describes your business and provides contact details, is a serious omission as the first thing most people do now is ‘Google’ for what they want – searching for websites to compare services and products before buying. Despite this, our own research shows that as many as two thirds of small businesses with less than ten employees still operate with no Internet connection.”
The guide was created in conjunction with the Institute of Directors and is available for download today from UK Online's website. It contains a step by step introduction to doing business online, providing jargon-busting explanations and real life examples of many aspects, from setting up a basic website to making phone calls and holding conferences over the internet.
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